Blogs > The Arts Whisperer

Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

on the lawn at SPAC

Last week I attended a performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC. It was a great relaxing night. As is becoming usual at SPAC the amphitheater seating was a little more than half-filled while the lawn was almost filled.

There are a lot of reasons for that. For one thing tickets prices. It cost $20 for the lawn and three and four times that for inside seating.

But I think it goes beyond pricing. I feel much more relaxed and comfortable on the lawn. Laying on a blanket and counting the stars - to me - adds to a performance. I understand how classical music lovers prefer to dote on every note and savor complex movement. Not me. I'm the person who waits to hear other people clap so I don't applaud in the wrong places. I find no shame in attending a classical music performance just for the pleasure of letting the music transport my mind to another place. It's hard for me to permit that to happen sitting on a hard-back chair. It's much easier on the lawn with a glass of wine in my hand.

The lawn is also great for people-watching. I love young couples (and grandparents) who bring
youngsters to the concerts to introduce them to great music. And God bless the SPAC policy that gives free lawn entry to all under 12-years of age. I can't say with certainty that the kids are universally well-behaved at SPAC, but I have rarely (if ever) seen rude kids at a ballet or orchestra performance. They can set a great example for the big kids at some rock shows.

As for other comforts, there are some groups that rival football tailgate parties in term of being prepared with food and drink. I've never seem anyone grilling on the lawn but I have checked out a lot of gourmet-looking appetizers and salads all over the place. I'm a simple bottle of wine and cheese guy myself, but I love it when people make a major event out of something.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is at SPAC through Sat. Aug 13. If you've never attended a classical concert on the lawn there are some upcoming programs that are great for for individuals, couples and families. Friday and Saturday of this week the Cirque de la Symphonie will be performing high wire acrobatics to the accompaniment of classical music. Next Wednesday jazz great Branford Marsalis is a guest artist and the closing night is a Tchaikovsky Spectacular. The fireworks on stage will be followed by fireworks in the air accompanied by live cannons.

If you've never attended a classical music performance on the lawn of SPAC I can tell you you are missing a special experience.